I challenged myself this year to finish the project that was the most difficult first so that, in theory, everything else would seem like a breeze. Well, I didn’t let myself down this time. It might have taken my entire Thanksgiving vacation {and then some} but I did it. I finished Amy’s tent that she’s getting for Christmas.

amys-tent-front     amys-tent-back     amys-tent-side

I wasn’t on the ball when my own kids were little. They had a rougher life and had to build tents out of blankets and clothes pins and couch cushions and whatever else happened to serve their purposes and were close at hand. My grand kids have each gotten a card table tent of their own – tools shops, barns, ice cream shops, fairy dwellings, care bear caves, wild animals, Bob the Builder, jungle and now a circus. Not saying they don’t still get out my quilting frame stands and the chair cushions and all the blankets and create their own amazing forts and tents. So, I guess they’ve got the best of both worlds.

Maybe it was an age thing. Maybe it was just the fact that I was the grandma now. I didn’t have to worry about raising these little ones. I could concentrate on spoiling them and giving them weird things from my childhood. Like tents.

tent4        tent       tent1

My sister sent me pictures she had of the tent I grew up in. Literally. I spent a lot of time in that circus tent. I assume Mom made it because, well, that’s just what moms did back then. Especially her. And, actually, she’d put a bottle on top of the card table, underneath the middle of the tent top so the roof even looked like a circus tent. I do remember the bottle effect being a bit obnoxious, though. It didn’t take much to tip it over.

If I was lucky, though, my tent got set up in the living room with the door facing the television set. The black and white television set, mind you. We’re talking dinosaur age here! Mom would bring me a small plate with graham crackers on it and a glass of milk. Dipping my crackers in the milk, I listened to what Mr. DoBee {“Do be a Do Bee and don’t be a Don’t Bee”} told me I should always remember to do. And, of course, “Romper, stomper, bomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play?” And I would hope that today would be the day she would call out my name. Needless to say, I don’t remember ever hearing my name. And then there was Captain Kangaroo with Mr. Green Jeans and Fireman Frank.

It was while I was in my card table tent playing and Mom was watching a movie that she told me I looked just like Loretta Young. Silly. Loretta Young was a beautiful movie star, though, and I soaked up those words from my mother and held my head a little higher for a moment.

When I wasn’t in my card table tent, I was constructing tents with blankets and clothespins on the front porch or the clothesline in the backyard. I’d bring out my bride doll or my Barbie dolls or my baby dolls or my troll dolls. Then I’d get the suitcase full of fabric scraps and needles and thread and scissors and snaps and buttons and I would make clothes and hats and blankets and whatever else they needed. Being in one of my tents was like having a corner of the universe that nothing bad could penetrate and anything my imagination could create would come true.

There’s a meme that surfaces on Facebook every so often that says something like, “I’m tired of being an adult. You’ll find me in my blanket tent, coloring”. Such a perfect description of what life felt like, as a child, in a tent.

I can only hope my grand kids get a few memories from their tents as long-lasting as mine. That’s always been my inTENTion anyway.


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